My guitar student thinks Jimi Hendrix is terrible!

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Steve Holt, Mar 4, 2017.

Tags:
  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    17,786
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    By the time Vai was attending Berklee college of music in '78, pretty much his whole arsenal of technique was already being taught to the masses.
    There's a slew of staggering guitarists that hit the scene in the early '80s, and I was wondering if maybe Randy Rhoads who hit the scene in '72 might have been at least in the running.
    When Hendrix brought his huge slab of guitar pedagogy to the scene there were other players in Jazz with some of his technique, not so much in Rock, and overall nobody with as much guitar power, and the whole package had never been seen before.

    Vai brought a great package of stuff, but all of it had been seen before.
    Refining what you were trained to do in music college is a whole lot easier to do than inventing a bunch of new stuff in such quantity that the best players of your era are blown away.

    And while Vai's contemporaries were certainly impressed by his refined skills and taste, they could easily understand exactly what he was doing.

    Even in the '60s there were players like Larry Coryell doing more Rock oriented blisteringly fast highly developed playing, not falling all that short of today's standards.

    So, what did Vai bring that nobody had seen before?
    EVH had already refined the whammy bar concept into pretty much what it is today, and Malmsteens first album came out the year Vai started music school, 1978. Rhoads had already been touring for years and been signed by CBS in '76.

    So Vai was just another bozo on the bus of prodigy students aping what they learned in school. He was a great transcriber, because he learned by transcription, not by invention.

    IMO the thing that set Hendrix apart was that so much of what he brought had no precedent; had never been seen before; was not being taught in music school.
    When he died he was still so much in the middle of inventing, that he had really only refined and perfected a small portion of his accomplishments.
    Almost as if he was studying and practicing in front of audiences.
    Yeah, he was a mess. But he changed guitar playing more than just a handful of players, most of whom came before him; bearing in mind that the electric guitar is the newest musical instrument of our times.

    When I moved to Boston in '84 to make my name in music (HA!!), I often shopped at the music store across the street from Berklee.
    It was impossible to try out gear without getting into a cutting contest.
    All sizes shapes and colors of guitar player seemed to sound exactly the same, and were pretty much staggeringly good (or they made no sound). No disrespect for the hard work they put in, but these players were cranked out of the machine like eggs from a carton or cookies from Keebler.
    Fun times!
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    rogb likes this.
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    17,786
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Just for the sake of historic perspective, I looked up a few players birth dates and career start dates, though the start of a career is harder to nail down.
    These are players who might have invented portions of the Rock guitar lexicon, not simply excelled at what they were taught to do in school.
    Bearing in mind that before the '70s, there was no advanced Rock guitar pedagogy for new players to be trained in.

    Hendrix born 1942, enlisted as paratrooper in '61, honorable discharge in '62 at which point he started playing professionally, soon to join the Isley Brothers then Little Richard.

    Larry Coryell born 1943, joined Chico Hamiltons band circa '65 or '66. I include Coryell because he had more of the modern speedy rock licks by the time Hendrix exploded. And he was

    EVH born 1955, hit the scene circa '72.

    Randy Rhoads born 1956, also hit the scene around '72 with the band that became Quiet Riot.

    Steve Vai born 1960, hit the scene in '79.

    Yngvie born in 1963, hit the scene in '78.

    There were and are certainly plenty of other great players not on this little list, I'm just trying to point to some start points before and during the development of modern Rock guitar. I left out McLaughlin because I never considered him Rock enough to fit here (born 1942 hit the scene early '60s).
    And of course before Hendrix there is a whole slew of predecessor innovators, but they defined classic Rock more than modern Rock guitar.

    I'll join @RoyBGood and stick my neck on the block by saying:
    Pedagogy is what defines modern Rock guitar.
    What will follow the age of Rock 'n' Roll college?

    Edit: I left out Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker, born '54 and '55, both innovators and hit the exploding scene in the early '70s. And Richie Blackmore?
    Sorry, I'm not cut out for the job of historian...
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  3. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    442
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    Canada
    Agree. Thanks for this. I saw him recently (shook his hand even); he has a unique, quirky, musical language, full of artistic integrity, still very underrated. He will be well regarded for posterity. In my opinion.
     
    RoyBGood likes this.
  4. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    5,295
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Yeah, I like Steve Vai too. I like Joe Satriani as well. I think they are the guitar player's guitar players.

    On the other hand, when I think of Hendrix, I think about the splash he made on the scene, the obvious talent, plus the persona. He was outrageous. Nobody had seen the likes of him before but in the same breath, I think his audience could relate to him. If you watch footage and providing it's a good appearance and everything is working technically, he raps with the audience one to one. I was too young to experience it first hand but from the footage I've seen, his concerts seemed all very inclusive and fluid, like a musical conversation rather than a lecture.

    I think Randy Roads and EVH were the next guitar superstars to take the world by the tail. I think Joe Walsh was also a contender. I really like his stripped down, unabashed guitar rock in the very early 70's.
     
    Route67 and RoyBGood like this.
  5. grooveiron

    grooveiron Tele-Meister

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Pretty sure he was saying that Julian Lage isn't RnR
     
    telemnemonics and Lobomov like this.
  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    17,786
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Well one reason Vai may be "underrated" is that he has a peer group.
    Since he's not the only one of his kind, we get to choose which modern shred oriented player we prefer.
    Sorry of this sounds cold toward that guitar style, I do consider Vai to be more musical and less automatonic than most of his group.
    And I would put the slightly earlier neo classical style in a separate group.
    I like Vai better and "get him" more than Eric Johnson.
     
    8barlouie likes this.
  7. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,400
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Location:
    On the Bayou in da Tundra
    The big difference between Hendrix and a game system, IMHO is that the game systems didn't quit improving because they weren't taken off the market. Hendrix died. Dead, Gone, no longer here. It's a little hard to say what he might have turned into as a guitarist or what effect he might have had if he hadn't died. He never had the chance to take his talent to the full potential.
    It's kind of easy today to look back and say that he wasn't the greatest at knowledge or technique, but the thing to remember was that he was the greatest at the time. All of these artists that have been eschewed as so much better and so far ahead of him as a guitarist are still alive. Where would EVH have been if he had died at 19, or Randy Rhodes? Even thought they never did, they still would be nowhere if it weren't for Jimi taking the guitar to a new place and for his influence as a player on the entire music scene, barring classical.
    So blanket statements that all of his sales are to "geezers" need, as they say in the scientific community, the ability to be proven false. If so, then they are not valid. Besides, being a geezer ain't so bad. You get wise enough to know not to try to hurl insults at others who are your betters.
     
  8. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,830
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Location:
    Northamptonshire, UK
    Sorry, you're right - I 'speed read' too often sometimes! Apologies to original poster. :)
    Couldn't have said it better. I think as he's such a phenomenal player, his marvellous composing tends to get overlooked. In that area, I rate him as good as anyone - and I'm including the classical greats there. (Head on the block time again! :eek:)
     
    awasson, Route67 and Lobomov like this.
  9. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,422
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    He probably is more familiar with Linkin Park or something.
     
    RoyBGood likes this.
  10. rogb

    rogb Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,062
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Location:
    London, England
    linkin park sucks!!!!!!!!












    See how pointless these type of comments are - pointless, unhelpful and add zero to an interesting discussion.
     
    RoyBGood and 8barlouie like this.
  11. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,400
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Location:
    On the Bayou in da Tundra
    I know that you probably are aware of this, so I don't mean any offense whatsoever, but you are comparing apples with oranges.
    I happen to love to listen to classical music, but I don't think it would be relevant to compare Dimeola with Mozart. They each have a different voice from the other.
    Simply stating that because Jimi didn't play jazz or fusion doesn't make him a dog.
    Saying this is in essence saying that Satchmo, or Robert Johnson, or Glenn Miller or John Cage are all nothing but a bunch of know-nothing hacks that should be forgotten with history. Chuck Berry was a loser, Dick Dale never knew his pick from his forefinger, etc.
    The other is that simply stating that one loves to listen to these guys doesn't mean that they are on a level greater than anyone who also likes to listen to Little Wing or Voodoo Child at Moneteray. In spite of what has become the myth of the zeitgeist jazz is no more a "better or more intellectual" music than the Monkees.
    It's not impressive to listen to it and feel that somehow that makes one a superior judge of music or musical style.
    Again, all of this is just MHO and is not a guarantee of any validity or support of the FDA. :)
     
    t guitar floyd likes this.
  12. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    442
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    Canada
    He certainly has aspirations to be a modern composer of merit, in today's context of American contemporary music, rather far removed from the rock star status enjoyed by him and others in their youth, the latter with the obvious goal of rounding up young females etc. As a modern composer in America, I think he communicates on a personal level a very individualistic world view tightly interwoven with the support of a loyal spouse. Comparing Hendrix with Vai is not really possible as each must be viewed in the context of their time. With Hendrix it was a younger age group of followers struggling with ideas of communalism more so than the isolated individualism of today. In my view.
     
    RoyBGood likes this.
  13. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,692
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    the next Hendrix

    will be a total wacko with guitar+computer and be a walking encyclopedia of guitar

    you'll say whoa, that's a *guitar?!?!*

    and it'll be scary
     
    4pickupguy likes this.
  14. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,881
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Winchester, VA
    Not sure about the assessment of EVH and Randy Rhoads... "even if they never did" what? I'm missing something. Also, the last paragraph left me scratching my head. Sorry - I can't follow this.
     
  15. Ed Boyd

    Ed Boyd Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,916
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Illinois
    I thought Hendrix was terrible. I was probably 40 years old when I started to warm up to his playing and even then it wasn't the hits. It was things like the lesser known cuts off Axis Bold as Love.

    I grew up listen to Country players. The first time I heard the Woodstock album as a boy I remember the only guitar player that was worth a hoot was the guy from Ten Years After (Alvin Lee) Compared to players like Leon Rhodes, Joe Maphis, Jerry Reed, James Burton, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Roy Clark etc ..... the rock guys didn't really demonstrate any chops. LOL!

    Well some LA guys like Louis Shelton, Tommy Tedesco, and Glen Campbell were really good and Danny Cedrone who was the first guitar player in Bill Haley's band could shred. It was like Grunge of the 90s movement. The Hippies took guitar back to the Dark Ages. In the 80s every Rock solo was like a Paganini Etude then after Nirvana everyone forgot how to play guitar. :D

    But Hendrix had to be a good player. He was a hired gun who worked with the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, Cutis Knight, Joey Dee, Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, etc.... He was a pro.
     
    sockgtr likes this.
  16. t guitar floyd

    t guitar floyd Tele-Holic

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    938
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    Location:
    sw US
    LOL! Whenever I hear "not a fan of guitar solo", I think, now there's someone who can't play one! :D
     
    awasson and 4pickupguy like this.
  17. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,830
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Location:
    Northamptonshire, UK
    (To the OP); I suggest you make a shortlist of choice Hendrix tracks for your student to listen to, or better still, burn a CD for him, but however he's exposed to the best Hendrix moments, make sure it's not through crappy, compressed youtube clips through even crappier computer speakers! A few of my suggestions, fwiw:

    Bold As Love
    Little Wing
    Red House (Are You Experienced version)
    Johnny B. Goode (In The West version)
    Purple Haze (ditto)
    Gypsy Eyes
    House Burning Down
    Villanova Junction (Woodstock)
    All Along The Watchtower (Ladyland version). Yeah, I know, it's been played a lot, but its sheer perfection means it has to go in!
    Ezy Rider
    Drifting
    Night Bird Flying
    Angel
    Bleeding Heart (War Heroes version)

    ...if he doesn't get any of these, I suggest you check him for a pulse.
     
    awasson likes this.
  18. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,596
    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Or, if he is a fan of 'some old dead coot called Stevie Ray Vaughan', give him Little Wing as an assignment. When he learns it, THEN tell him its a Hendrix tune.... from 67'... Then "now go learn the the "Live Berkeley version"..because that one is much tougher to nail. Maybe he'll get it then.... maybe.
     
    RoyBGood and awasson like this.
  19. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    7,844
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    Location:
    Smyrna georgia
    Steve Vai is awesome.
    But I just don't feel anything he plays.
    I feel Hendrix, bad notes et all.
     
  20. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,890
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Location:
    Europa
    Ive posted a lot in defence of the young ... but let us not forget this incident :)

     
    Blue Bill likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.